Atlantic City, NJ — There is a certain pride that comes in winning the Gambler’s Classic TQ-Midget race at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Just ask Ted Christopher.
The former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion claimed his second career Gambler’s Classic title Saturday night.
“When you think about this race and the history that is involved in indoor racing in Atlantic City, it really means something special to win it,” said Christopher of Plainville, Conn. “We only come here once a year and we, as a team, put a lot of effort into winning this race so I take a certain amount of great pride with this victory.”
Christopher joins an elite group of Gambler’s Classic winners as he joins Lou Cicconi Jr and Joey Payne as the only two-time winners of the event. Christopher’s only Gambler’s Classic win came in 2009. Christopher visited AC Victory Lane last season, but that victory came in the preliminary main event.
Matt Janisch of Nazareth, Pa., was second in the final tally, while Billy Pauch of Frenchtown, N.J. was third; Billy Wease of Noblesville, Ind., was fourth; and Matt Roselli of Broadheadsville, Pa., was fifth.
Christopher’s victory came in a car that he purchased four years ago from Art Lawshe for a small sum of $4500. The win on Saturday night earned Christopher a cool $5000.
But it was the off-season preparation that provided Christopher with a car that was simply “bad fast.”
The chassis and surrounding bars were tricked out and the car weighed-in at 826 pounds, one pound over the mandatory weight.
“I owe it all to my crew guys and especially to Michael O’Sullivan,” Christopher said. “He worked incredibly hard in getting this car ready for the toll that it can take with the indoor racing.”
Christopher started seventh in the 26-car grid, but he wasted little time in showing his strength.
By lap four of the 40-lap main event, Christopher already worked up to second where he followed Joey Payne.
Payne’s night ended on lap seven when a radius rod broke which sent his car hard into the outside turn three wall. Payne was not injured in the crash.
“I saw the bolt come out on the backstretch,” Payne said. “There wasn’t anything I could have done except to ride it out.”
Christopher was handed the lead spot while Janisch and Ian Cumens followed in the top three.
The scariest crash of the evening occurred on lap 22 when Ryan Smith was clipped into the outside frontstretch wall. His car climbed the wall, rolled on its side and slid down the frontstretch, drilling the turn one wall. He was not injured.
Over the final 18 tours, Christopher dominated the race as he defeated Janisch by five car lengths at the line.
The weekend was near perfect for Christopher as he set a track record on Friday and he won his heat race on Saturday. A damaged left-front wheel sent Christopher to the pits with five laps left on Friday. He was leading at the time.
Christopher, Cicconi, Payne and Smith won heat races, while Ryan Greth and Frank Fischer won B-Mains. Glenn Heverin won the Non-Qualifiers race.
Michael Butler of Milford, N.J. won the Herr’s Snacks Slingshot main event over Tiffany Wambold, Shannon Smith, Mario Page and Jim Houseworth.
Butler earned $1500 for the victory, his first in Atlantic City and he dedicated the win to his grandfather Oliver.
Modified ace Rick Laubach won the B-Main.
Norman Hynes of Lithicum, Md., earned $1500 for claiming the Champ Kart feature event. Hynes led the entire 25-lap main event en route to scoring his first career win in Atlantic City.
Ryan Kendall was second, followed by TJ Laro, Eric Zeh and Donnie Nale.
Kevin Orlando won the B-Main.
TQ-Midget Feature Finish, 40 Laps: 1. Ted Christopher; 2. Matt Janisch; 3. Billy Pauch; 4. Billy Wease; 5. Matt Roselli; 6. Ryan Greth; 7. Danny Johnson; 8. Mike Lichty; 9. Joe Lord Jr; 10. Chris Stockham; 11. Tim Proctor; 12. Shaun Carrig; 13. Mike Tidaback; 14. Dan Lane Jr; 15. Ian Cumens; 16. Paul Lotier Jr; 17. Christopher Allen Jr; 18. Tim Buckwalter; 19. Ryan Smith; 20. Chris DeRitis; 21. Jeff Kot; 22. Joey Payne; 23. Lou Cicconi Jr; 24. Timex Morgan; 25. Mike Stefanik; 26. Frank Fischer.
Slingshot Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Michael Butler; 2. Tiffany Wambold; 3. Shannon Smith; 4. Mario Page; 5. Jim Houseworth; 6. Gary Hieber; 7. Matt Dealaman; 8. Michael Glass; 9. Kyle Hieber; 10. Anthony Perrego; 11. Jimmy Spellman; 12. Kurt Bettler; 13. Matt Hearn; 14. Jesse Hartman; 15. Jay Hartman; 16. Nick Pecko; 17. Brad Arnold; 18. Vern McLaughlin; 19. Bobby Butler; 20. Anthony Schlosser-White; 21. Rick Laubach; 22. Brandon Azzalina; 23. Jeff Hartman; 24. Brett Bieber.
Champ Kart Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Norman Hynes; 2. Ryan Kendall; 3. TJ Laro; 4. Eric Zeh; 5. Don Nale; 6. Kyle Ellwood; 7. Justin Bonsignore; 8. Ron Milford Jr; 9. Eddie Sickles; 10. Kevin Orlando; 11. Andrew Swisher; 12. Cameron Bellinger; 13. David Daniels; 14. David Calabrese; 15. Bryan Shields; 16. Mike Perry; 17. Justin Strumpe; 19. Shawn Solomito; 20. Kevin Root; 21. Todd Root; 22. James Hayden; 23. Jeremy Tuttle; 24. Steve Midford Jr; 25. Brad Davis; 26. Coby Cressinger.